By Sebastian Moronta, SGA Correspondent
Another tragedy has thrown the us into yet another gun control debate cycle, and so far, little progress has been made. Understandably so, as the public discourse on guns doesn’t lend itself to reasonable discussion of potential solutions.
Finding common ground is easy. Nobody in America wants children to get shot, so you would think it would be that much simpler finding a solution and sticking to it. Instead, pro-gun people give thoughts and prayers while shooting down proposals as inefficient in addressing the shooting at hand, while anti-gun proponents insinuate that anyone against confiscating every weapon in America is complicit in murders committed with them. Both arguments are made in bad faith, and neither is very productive.
“Common-sense” gun legislation gets thrown around a lot, but only starts with an actual proposal with common- sense reasoning.
I think the age at which Americans in all states are allowed to purchase a firearm should be raised to 21.
My rationale is this, the vast majority of students in high school are between the ages of 14 and 20 and raising the age to purchase a gun above that prevents students in high school from purchasing them, keeping them out of schools. Senator Dianne Feinstein has announced she plans to write legislation to make this a reality, but within our current political climate it’s hard to say whether the bill will progress. Nevertheless, it has prompted a few responses that I’d like to address.
The first conflict some have pointed out is that citizens are eligible to join the military, and subsequently operate a firearm, at 18. This would mean service members could operate firearms in the line of duty but couldn’t own one at home until they aged up.
While for those service members I can see that this would seem like a silly discrepancy, individuals are trained extensively to use firearms in the military, and I think that training is sufficient to grant an 18-year-old the right to own a gun in that context.
I think denying them the right to own a gun at home, while still operating one at work, during that three-year period is a worthwhile sacrifice to keep guns out of teenage hands.
One conservative commentator claimed the real question was when rights accrued, that the differences between when one can buy a gun vs a beer, or when they can vote or be tried as an adult in criminal court is significant.
I don’t believe it is. I find it perfectly reasonable to declare that the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen of the United States are meted out in increments, from eligibility to drive and work at 18, through having to get your own health insurance at 25. Life doesn’t hit you all at once, although it sometimes feels that way.
The leading argument coming from pro-gun defendants is that a law further restricting individuals from 18 to 21 would punish law-abiding citizens for the evil acts of criminals. It’s a position I understand and one that I agree with in a general sense. Policymaking like that often feels like punishing the whole class because one student broke a toy.
However, I still believe in this policy because like I said, I believe that sacrifice is worth the end result: keeping guns out of the hands of high schoolers.
A barrier to progress that I consider particularly foolish is the notion that if a certain policy doesn’t completely address the mass shooting issue, then it’s worthless entirely.
I know this doesn’t address the need for mental healthcare, nor does it work to further prevent dangerous individuals and abusive personalities from getting guns.
However, it’s one step in the right direction, and I hope that this is the last tragedy before we collectively take that step as a society.
Photo Courtesy: The Blaze